The Vysočina region enjoys a very good location in the center of the Czech Republic, halfway between the two largest urban agglomerations of the Czech Republic – Prague and Brno.
The Vysočina Region is situated in the centre of the CR. It borders the Jihočeský, Středočeský, Pardubický and Jihomoravský regions with which it establishes the NUTS2 area in order to get region development backing. It differs from the neighbouring regions by a dissected territory, higher altitude and low residential density. The disintegrated residential structure causes in some cases people to move away from smaller municipalities; young and qualified inhabitants often do so.
The Vysočina Region has an inland location and its borders do not touch the state borders of the CR. However, the southern part of the Region stretches to the zone that is close to the borders with Austria and that ́s why the Vysočina Region participates in the across-the-border projects along with the Jihočeský and Jihomoravský regions. The landscape of the territory is formed by the hills of the Czech-Moravian Highlands (Českomoravská vrchovina). The region is attractive for its rather low air pollution, relatively healthy forests and clean water resources and expanses of water that are important for water supply and distribution. A major European watershed as well as the historical border of Bohemia and Moravia extends across the Region from southwest to northeast.
With its area (almost 6,800 sq km) the Region ranks the regions of above-average size; only 4 regions of the CR have a larger area. The highest point of the Region is Javořice in Javořická vrchovina (the Peak Javořice in the Javořice Highlands, 837 m above sea level), while the lowest point (about 239 m above sea level) is the level of the Jihlava River at the point where it leaves the Region, which is to be found southwest of the Třebíč District. There are two protected landscape areas in the Region: Žďárské vrchy (the Žďár Hills) and Železné hory (the Iron Mountains). The Melechov Hill in the territory of the Havlíčkův Brod District is called in some sources the geographical centre of Europe.
As for administrative breakdown, the territory of the Vysočina Region comprises 5 districts, 15 administrative districts of municipalities with extended powers and 26 administrative districts of municipalities with authorized municipal office. The basic self-governing unit is a municipality; there are 723 of them in the Region (as of 1 January 2005). The average population per municipality amounts to 724; it is the lowest of all the regions of the Czech Republic. The highest number of municipalities comprises those of population under 500. There are 34 municipalities with the status of town in the Region, and the number, in relation to the Region’s area, falls slightly below the national average.
As of 1 January 2017, the Region’s population was almost 509,000 which represents the third lowest population density among the regions in the CR. The proportion of urban population was almost 57 %. In 2016, the number of newly-born children slightly decreased; the number of marriages increased and the number of divorces decreased. Share of children born out of marriage is lower than in the other regions of the CR except for Zlínský,Jihomoravsky Region and Prague, but it has also a growing tendency and in 2016 it reached 43,8 %.
The Business Register of the Region, which contains all identification numbers issued to organisations, comprised 111,800 businesses as at the end of 2016. This number placed the Region last but one in the CR, just ahead of the Karlovarský Region. It implies that there are not many business activities. The biggest number of businesses was reported for the Žďár nad Sázavou District (more than 25 thousand) and the lowest one for the Pelhřimov District (more than 17 thousand).
Economic performance of the Region in comparison with other regions of the CR is below the average. Share of the Region at GDP of the CR was during the last years about 4 %. In 2016 GDP per capita of the Region was more than 373,000 CZK, i.e. about 83 % of the national average.
The 2016 average monthly gross wage of an individual in the Vysočina Region was 24,534 CZK. Average wages in the Region were under the average of the CR more than 2 thousand CZK.
The proportion of unemployed persons in the population aged 15-64 years has reached the value of 5,17 % and was the eighth lowest in the Czech Republic at the end of 2016. The highest proportion was reported for the Třebíč District (6,77 %) while the lowest for the Pelhřimov District (3,28 %). The number of job applicants decreased against the year 2015 by 17 %. There were 3 job applicants per vacancy. The offer for qualified labour force is not high, but improving slightly.
The Vysočina Region continues with its tradition of agricultural production. Although the Region’s natural conditions are below average (because the high altitude and slope relief of the territory decrease production ability of lands) for some agricultural commodities and activities the territory of the Vysočina Region is optimal (production of potatoes, oil plants, pastoral farming).
Most agricultural enterprises focus on a combination of crop production and animal production; smaller production units of peasants are more specialised.
Total area of cereals in 2016 was almost 132,000 ha. Total harvest was more than 748,000 t; the average yield of cereals has increased on 5,68 t per hectare. Total harvest of potatoes in the Region was 258,000 t, which is just about a third of the national production of potatoes. Area in potatoes approximately remained under the level of the preceeding year, yield per hectare has increased by almost one half, so the total harvest was remarkably higher.
In 2016, cattle farming intensity per 100 ha of agricultural land was in the amount of 62 heads; it was the highest of all the regions of the CR. Average annual yield of milk of 1 cow was more than 8,383 litres. With its meat production in the amount of more than 38,300 t (without poultry production) the Region ranked second in the Czech Republic.
Industrial enterprises profited almost 152 billion CZK for their own goods and services in 2016, which was by 4,9 % more than in 2015. The data apply to 139 enterprises with 100 or more employees. Industrial output in the Region includes engineering, metalworking, textile, wood- and food-processing industry and energetika. Industrial centres are former district towns and other towns with a good transport accessibility.
In 2016, more than 4,500 building permits were granted in the Vysočina Region for all types of buildings, which is about 10,5 % increase compared to 2015. As for the dwellings started (1 154), the Region ranks eleventh among the 14 regions of the CR. Completed were 969 dwellings, which is a year-on-year decrease more than 3 %.
The road and railway network in the Region is strategic from the national as well as European point of view. The territory is a part of Central-European urbanised axis (Berlin-Praha-Vienna/Bratislava-Budapest) and D1 highway thus fulfils its function in national and European transport. Recently the good strategic location of the Region has attracted plenty of foreign investors who deploy not only production plants but also research and development units there.
The Region has a rather stabilised network of basic schools and a sufficient capacity of secondary schools. There is one high school in the region: Polytechnic High School Jihlava which was attended in the academic year 2016/2017 by nearly 2,2 thousand students.
Major health care establishments include 6 hospitals (with 2,700 beds). Outpatient care is provided by 240 surgeries of GP ́s for adult patiens, 98 surgeries of GP ́s for children and about 250 surgeries of dentists.
The positive side of the Region includes low crime rate and low suicide rate in relation to the population.
The Region hosts several interesting cultural events – some of national or even international character. A long tradition is the Autumn Book Fair held at Havlíčkův Brod. A meeting of choruses from all over the world is held in the town of Jihlava every year, accompanied by the international competition of mixed-voice chamber choruses called the International Chorus Festival and also the International Documentary Festival gained popularity. An important organiser of cultural activities is the town of Telč. Besides the festival Holidays in Telč, it also hosts other events such as the European Meeting of Folklore Ensembles. The International Festival of Petr Dvorsky is held in the castle of Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou. One of the most popular sports facilities is the ski resort Nové Město na Moravě where widely known skiing events are held.
Accommodation facilities in the region were visited by more than 520,000 guests in 2016. The Vysočina Region is also attractive for its tourism opportunities available all-year-round. It is not only summer or winter residences but also many cultural and historic buildings and monuments to see. The best snow conditions are at Žďárské vrchy – there you can ski at 700-800 m above sea level. There is also a substantial part of the capacity of accommodation facilities in this area. The biggest expanse of water in the Region is Velké Dářko Reservoir with 206 ha. The Dalešice Reservoir on the Jihlava River is the highest dam (100 m) in the Czech Republic.
Three historic buildings and monuments of the CR that are a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site are to be found in the Vysočina Region: the Urban Conservation Area of Telč, the Church of St John of Nepomuk by the architect Giovanni Santini on a hill called Zelená Hora near the town Žďár nad Sázavou and the former Jewish ghetto with a cemetery and St. Procopius Basilica in Třebíč. There is a unique Museum of Records and Curiosities in Pelhřimov. The two protected landscape areas and numerous natural areas comprise some of the landscape treasures of the Region. The future of tourism and travelling as such in the Vysočina Region is certain to focus on urban tourism and forms of calm and environment-friendly dwelling-based tourism. The latter is enabled with a dense net of marked path (approximately 2 900 km) and building cycle tracks (approximately 2 500 km).